Thursday, October 22, 2015

#AdoptionRocks, Part 6: And then God...

Let me introduce you to my previous friend Erica! We have a million and one mutual friends, and I've heard about how amazing she is for years. We finally connected IRL (in real life) in May when I partnered with her family to do an adoption fundraiser to help with their final travel expenses to bring Evie Joy home from China.

I knew instantly that I would love her because she walked in rocking my favorite Noonday Collection piece of all time - the Annie's Feathered Earrings. We spent the day together doing an early show at a local elementary school and then later moved to the local high school - I was just in awe of her kindness and genuineness. Their entire family exudes love for one another - and for those around them. Oh, and before little Evie arrived in their world...Erica was a boy mama to two little guys, too! #kindredspirits

So, all that to say, I can't wait for you to read about her heart for the orphan and how God has been working for years in Erica's life (and in Tyler's) to make a place for their beautiful little girl. Prepare yourself for the cuteness that is their family's pictures...


I can't even handle this cuteness!
The Lord put adoption on my heart many years ago. Long before I was ever married or even knew who my husband would be, God began to give me a heart for the orphan.

Adoption wasn’t foreign to me. I had casually heard of people adopting, but I had never really known anyone personally that had done it and I had never really given it much thought. You see, I had no idea that there were millions of orphaned children in the world and that many of them would never be adopted. I didn’t know that there were precious children in the world literally starving to death or laying in hospital beds without a mom or dad at their side. I didn’t know that many of them turn to prostitution or drugs when they “age” out of the orphanage because they have no family…no education…no hope.

And then God interrupted my way of thinking, and placed a passion in my heart for the “least of these.” It started when I heard the story of Christian artist, Stephen Curtis Chapman and his wife, tragically losing their adoptive daughter. That story broke my heart for their family, and it also sparked a fire in my heart for adoption. The more I learned about the fatherless, the more I felt that I had to do something. You see…to whom much is given, much is also required. I had been given MUCH and the Lord was revealing to me what was required.
Looks like Camden (4) &
Case (3) have decided to keep her! 

Before I even met my husband, I began to pray that God would open his heart to the possibility of adoption. God answered BIG! Although, Tyler did not have the same passion as I did (at first), he was very open to researching and learning more about adoption. AND THEN GOD!! He used Tyler’s respect for me and willingness to share in my passion to completely break my husband’s heart also. I’ll never forget the day Tyler looked at me and said, “It’s easy to live in our own little world, but once you know, you’ve gotta do something.”

We brought our baby girl (Evie Joy) home just two short months ago. It is so amazing to see the work God has done in ALL of our hearts. I have always heard that adoption was a picture of the gospel and it’s so true!  As we’ve pursued her reluctant and guarded heart, I’ve been reminded that God does the exact same with us. He pursues us in our hopeless state, REDEEMS us, and leads us to NEW life in HIM!
First Family Photo...and appropriately under those Friday Night Lights!
See? Do you not just want to cozy up with a cup of coffee with her and talk? So thankful that God used Noonday Collection to bring us together IRL; it has been such a blessing to be in prayer for their sweet family as they've chased after Evie and now are transitioning into a busy family of five!

Oh, and Go Brandon Bulldogs!

Stay tuned for the next post! You're going to love it just as much! I seriously know the most amazing women in the world! #hangingwiththecoolkids

Thursday, October 15, 2015

#AdoptionRocks Part 5: A Mustard Seed of Faith

So, a few years ago, a virtual friend became a real life friend and we realized we were pretty much living parallel lives: We loved Jesus, taught PR at Research 1 Institutions - in the SEC nonetheless, were married to a pastors, had two kids about the same age and were both trying to be runners. I loved her instantly and wished we lived closer and could share life over lots of coffee and maybe even collaborate on research.

When I became a Noonday Collection Ambassador, Lisa was among the first to say "yes" to hosting a show. I packed all my lovelies and headed to Baton Rouge for what turned out to be one of the most fun nights EVER! And now, over two years later - I'm still going to Baton Rouge for shows with this amazing group of ladies that I have come to love so much! They love Jesus and each other so well, and I can't help but want to be with them as often as possible.

One of those sweet soul sisters I have met in this circle is Liz. She's a boy mama, (Bless.) and her honesty and ability to speak encouragement are amazing! She speaks life and love and asks hard questions that just make you want to be a better person. It has been so fun to rally with her tribe around her as she and her sweet family prepare their home for their precious girl from India. I am so excited today to share a little about her family's adoption journey...  


“If the Lord wants to grow our family by adoption, then I want us to be open to His leading.” My husband’s words flowed with such ease and confidence. Yet the gravity of his statement took my heart by storm.

My name is Liz and I am saved by grace by my Lord Jesus. I've been married to my high school sweetheart, Kenny, for over 14 years. We are living a wild, boy-raising life with our 10 & 6 year old. We are currently waiting to bring our 14-month-old little girl home from India. We recently received a new picture of her, and I say with bone deep conviction -- she's absolutely precious beyond belief. Her big brown eyes and mocha skin melt our hearts. She's recently cut two bottom teeth and was standing up looking as if she was on a mission. She probably was. That's my girl!!! We can't wait to hold her, examine her little fingers and toes like all parents do with their new baby. We are all ridiculously ecstatic as we prepare for our new family member. People, we just bought our very first doll. It was a huge deal! Complete with snapping pictures and texting it to loved ones. This is a tender time for us. So much left to do and prepare, but in the midst of it, there are these quiet, sacred moments where I go sit in her room. I often think of Mary, the mother of Jesus, when just after His birth she was found "treasuring up all these things, pondering them in her heart." On a teeny weeny scale, I get that. Treasuring up these things God has given us and pondering them in my own heart. How great He is!

The Hill Family is almost complete! So sooooonnnn!!
We set out on the journey of growing our family by adoption after Kenny and I had a conversation in the spring of 2009 about what direction we sensed the Lord taking us. As we shared our thoughts and hearts, it was undeniable that adoption was where we were headed, but we were without any further details at that time. As the years continued to unfold a few things began to change from bewilderingly blurry to clear; though we still didn’t have the entire picture. We sensed the Lord leading us to welcome a little girl from India into our tribe. Suddenly, all things India were thrust before us everywhere we turned. News stories, random circumstances in grocery store aisles (I promise that's no exaggeration) and many conversations with friends and mentors.

2012 was a major turning point for us and it became overwhelmingly obvious that the Lord’s timing to begin the formal process was upon us. With assurance in our hearts and our knees knocking together we took a leap of absolute faith and jumped into the world of international adoption. That initial plunge was over 3 years ago. We began the paperwork process in June 2012, sojourned to a new city in January 2013 and received our referral for our little girl in March 2015. We knew this would not be a speedy, by Western standards, kind of ride. I am thankful our expectations were not different. We were counseled with staggering honesty by our agency that this journey was not going to resemble a sprint, but rather a marathon. I would add, SEVERAL marathons. Maybe even few triathlons mixed in as well. I'll also add that I'm no athlete either! They told us it would take deep commitment and loads of patience and flexibility as things change constantly.
Got it.

Did he say “patience AND flexibility?” I’m about as flexible as a 2x4. And patience? Like both at the same time? After my “Are You sure about this, God??” moment, I knew that total reliance upon the Lord rather than my usual "I've got this covered" response would be non-negotiable from here on out. There have been incredible highs and lows intricately woven throughout the fabric of time that has unfolded. We’ve literally seen mountain top miracles and deep, dark valleys, sometimes all at once. We bear witness to the indescribable, unchangeable, insurmountable steadfastness and faithfulness of the Lord. He has proven Himself trustworthy over and over as He has provided every need we've had. We've dined on a delicacy of rice and beans along the way but not one time have we had to resort to eating canned dog food like I had envisioned we would due to the staggering costs.

Okay. I'm kidding...Not really...But seriously...

He provided the financial requirements through t-shirt fundraisers, garage sales, unexplainable generosity from family, friends and strangers as well as overwhelming support from Noonday Collection trunk shows. He has provided in times of tracking down hard-to-obtain required documents, stamina when the nights are long and treasured ones who pray their hearts out on our behalf. He has deeply and intimately comforted us as our hearts ache for our family to be united. He has lavishly given us dump truck loads of grace. He has graciously and powerfully imparted new patience and flexibility that were certainly not characteristic of me prior to this adventure and in fact are still growing as we continue on!


Although the past 3 years have challenged us, pushed us to places we never knew our faith in Christ would take us and rocked our sense of safe and predictable to the core, I would not change anything if I could. God has grown our faith and He continues to purge us from self-reliance. He has caused our worship to be in Spirt and truth as we cry out to Him with praises of thanksgiving and confessions of utter dependence on Him. He is majestic and tender, our Heavenly Father who knows exactly what is needed to conform us to the image of His Son. He has used this journey of adoption to tip over the apple cart of our lives, for His glory and our good. And He didn't just stop with us! The people the Lord has brought along for the ride has been truly stunning. As we wait with joyful anticipation for the call to get on a plane and venture to our daughter’s native land, we KNOW this much: that He has gone before us, He hems us in, and His hand of blessing is upon us, just as His word tells us so. Like a perfect ravioli, we are totally enveloped in His grace. 

Though the participation in adoption is for every Christian, how He leads us as individuals in that calling varies. But I want to personally and specifically encourage anyone who may be sensing the tug in their spirit from the Lord about their family being grown by adoption. The constant what-ifs that swirl in your mind, how will this or that work out, what about the money? Maybe you’re like me with the patience and flexibility madness. You fear that you don't have it together enough to adopt. You're totally off the hook because the truth is, NONE of us do and apart from the work of God's grace in our lives, we are all up the creek. You wonder how it will impact your biological children. Maybe the plate is already so full of responsibility that one more meatball on the top and the whole thing is going to come crashing down. I get it. All of it. All of the questions, doubts, the scenarios that cause you to catapult out of bed from a sound sleep at 3 a.m. It can be so consuming and distracting. But be encouraged dear, fellow sojourner! God is not timid, turned off, derailed or debilitated by our weaknesses. In fact, Scripture tells us the opposite -- that His power is made perfect in our weakness. I can’t promise you that He will give you a 3-point outline of how it will all unfold, complete with a backup plan in case things get nutty. That certainly hasn’t been His way with us at all. But may I gently suggest that if the Lord is beckoning you to this journey, trust Him. That might sound like an eye-rolling cliche, but it is truth nonetheless. Not once has He promised that this road was going to be easy and trouble free. His call wasn’t one to join Him on an idle vacation with cute pineapple drinks adorned with mini paper umbrellas, but rather to follow Him on the steep and narrow way. We stepped out in mustard seed sized faith and have been graciously met by the Lord of Heaven and Earth, who has moved mountains on our behalf.

Hymn writer John H. Stockton says it best....
... Only Trust Him, Only Trust Him, Only Trust Him Now...

See? I told you she's stinkin' amazing! It is such a privilege to call her "friend" and to have been a small part of her family's journey through Noonday Collection adoption fundraisers. I'm headed to Baton Rouge today to spend time with these beautiful friends, and I couldn't be more excited! If you've been inspired by Liz's story and want to be a part of it, you can support her show by shopping here. 20% of total sales from this show will be donated to the Hill's adoption expenses!

Stay tuned, friends! There's so much goodness coming your way in this #WorldAdoptionDay series!